The upcoming 2023-24 season of the Boston Lyric Opera is set to commence with a fresh rendition of "Madama Butterfly."
This highly anticipated production will grace the stage of the Emerson Colonial Theatre from September 14 to 24, following a transformative and groundbreaking cultural journey. The aim of this endeavor is to delve into the complex history of the opera's production while presenting it through the lens of Asian and Asian-American artists. Their goal is to reclaim a narrative that has endured for almost 150 years and infuse it with contemporary resonance, ensuring its relevance for today's audiences.
Under the direction of Phil Chan, the stage production of Giacomo Puccini's opera transports the story of Butterfly and American Naval Officer B.F. Pinkerton to 1940s San Francisco, a city where a significant number of Japanese Americans resided amidst the heightened racial prejudice fueled by World War II. Chan explains that in this rendition, "All the characters in this MADAMA BUTTERFLY are Americans, and none of the story takes place in Japan – or anywhere outside California. As we look to keep the art form thriving, we need to make its stories relevant to the audiences and the people of our time, while making sure the timeless Puccini score is still heard."
The cast of the opera includes Karen Chia-Ling Ho in the role of Butterfly, Alice Chung as Suzuki, Dominick Chenes as Pinkerton, and Troy Cook as Sharpless. Guiding the musical elements of the production is BLO Music Director David Angus.
This fresh interpretation of "Madama Butterfly" by the Boston Lyric Opera promises to offer a thought-provoking and resonant experience, inviting audiences to engage with the opera's timeless score while experiencing a reimagined narrative that explores themes of identity, cultural perspectives, and the impact of historical events on human relationships.